Cover image for Principles of international politics : people's power, preferences and perceptions
Principles of international politics : people's power, preferences and perceptions
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, 1946-
Publication Information:
Washington, DC : CQ Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xviii, 588 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


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Material Type
Home Location
Central Library JZ1242 .B84 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In contrast to most current approaches to international politics, this work views domestic politics and international relations as inseparable and the role of individual political leaders as key. A core assumption is that political leaders and foreign policy decision makers are motivated to keep their jobs and that they select policies and allocate scarce resources so as to help them fulfill their personal political objectives.

Table of Contents

Tables, Figures, and Mapsp. ix
Prefacep. xii
1. Foundations of International Politicsp. 1
Governing Principlesp. 2
Organizational Features of This Bookp. 6
The Core Concerns of International Relationsp. 8
The Link Between Domestic Politics and International Politicsp. 8
Is the State the Central Actor?p. 11
Solving International Relations Puzzlesp. 12
Power, Preferences, and Perceptions: The Three Pillars of International Relationsp. 14
Self-Interest: The Decisive Motivation for Actionp. 16
Summaryp. 20
2. Christopher Columbus and International Relationsp. 22
Columbus's Proposal, or Ferdinand and Isabella's Ambitionp. 23
Factors That Shape Foreign Policy Choicesp. 24
Probability of Success or Failurep. 24
Policy Costs and Political Costsp. 25
Expected Utility of a Policy Compared to Alternative Policiesp. 26
Discovering America: An Evaluation of Political Economy and National Securityp. 27
The Offer to Portugalp. 28
The Offers to England and Francep. 30
The Offer to Spainp. 30
Lessons Suggested by Columbus's Experiencep. 33
The Right Policy for One Leader May Be Wrong for Anotherp. 34
The Importance of Contextp. 35
Tools and Solutions: An Illustration of the Use of Decision Theory in the Study of International Relationsp. 38
Spain's Expected Utilityp. 39
Portugal's Expected Utilityp. 44
Game Theory, or Why People Sometimes Choose What They Do Not Like Bestp. 46
Summaryp. 54
3. International Politics from a Structural Perspectivep. 56
Evaluating Alternative Principlesp. 56
Defining the Puzzles of Cooperation and Conflictp. 58
Examples of International Cooperationp. 58
Examples of Conflict and Competitionp. 61
Structural Perspectivesp. 63
Neorealismp. 64
Some Limitations of Neorealismp. 70
Liberal Theoriesp. 73
Liberal Theories and the Promotion of Cooperationp. 79
Marxismp. 90
Summaryp. 92
4. International Politics from Group and Decision-Making Perspectivesp. 95
The Bureaucratic, or Interest Group, Perspectivep. 95
Organizational Roles in Foreign Policyp. 97
Principal-Agent Problemsp. 100
Standard Operating Proceduresp. 107
Strategic Perspectivep. 110
Comparing the Core Perspectivesp. 113
Hierarchy Versus Anarchyp. 115
Core Assumptions About Policy and Security Risksp. 117
The Three Perspectives Illustratively Applied to Columbusp. 127
The Columbian Voyages of Discovery: A Neorealist Explanationp. 127
The Columbian Voyages of Discovery: An Interest Group Explanationp. 128
The Columbian Voyages of Discovery: A Strategic Explanationp. 129
Summaryp. 131
5. Evaluating Arguments About International Politicsp. 133
Theories As Simplifications of Realityp. 135
What Is a Theory?p. 136
Constructing Theoriesp. 138
Judging Theoriesp. 140
The Importance of Logical Consistencyp. 140
Truth and Falsity in Assumptionsp. 143
The First Principle of Wing-Walkingp. 146
The Case Study Method and Testing Theoriesp. 152
A Standard for Comparing Theoriesp. 156
Why Do We Need Theories?p. 157
Guidelines for Evaluating Arguments and Evidence: The Scientific Methodp. 161
When a Theory Is Wrongp. 163
Scientific Theories Must Be Falsifiablep. 165
Summaryp. 166
6. What Is Power?p. 167
Defining Powerp. 168
Methods of Exercising Powerp. 170
Persuasionp. 171
Rewardsp. 173
Punishmentsp. 176
Forcep. 181
Measuring Powerp. 183
The Fungibility of Powerp. 188
Projecting Power over Large Distancesp. 193
Summaryp. 195
7. Limits to Powerp. 196
Power and Military Victoryp. 197
Power Can Be Cyclicalp. 199
Coordination and Powerp. 202
Distribution Problems, Coordination Problems, and Powerp. 204
Pure Strategy Equilibriap. 206
Mixed Strategy Equilibriump. 208
International Organizations: An Alternative to or Reflection of Power?p. 211
Power and Motivationp. 217
Asymmetric Motivation and Costsp. 225
The Exercise of Powerp. 230
Summaryp. 234
8. Preferences in International Politicsp. 236
Preferred Values and American Foreign Policy: An Illustrationp. 237
What Are Preferences?p. 241
Rationality and Preferencesp. 242
Preferences and Constrained Choicesp. 243
Vending Machines, Preferences, and Decisionsp. 246
Ordering Preferencesp. 246
Vending Machines and Information Constraintsp. 247
Buying Soda As an Expected Utility Problemp. 248
Constrained Choice in International Relations: Some Examplesp. 249
Cold War Perceptions As Constraintsp. 251
Preferences at Marathon: An Ancient Greek Examplep. 253
Social Choice Problems: Is There a National Interest?p. 257
Social Choice and the Cuban Missile Crisisp. 257
Preference Cycles and Structural Realismp. 263
Interest Groups and the Social Choice Problemp. 264
Summaryp. 265
9. Preferences and the Cold War's Endp. 267
Social Choice and Spatial Views of Policyp. 268
Predicting Policy Choices: The Median Voter Theoremp. 271
Multidimensional Issuesp. 274
Preferences and the End of the Cold War: Win Sets As a Tool for Understanding Policyp. 276
Domestic Soviet Preferences and the End of the Cold Warp. 278
Winning Preferences Inside the Soviet Unionp. 278
External Pressures to the End of the Cold Warp. 285
Summaryp. 289
10. Perceptions in International Affairsp. 290
Perceptions and Realityp. 291
People Form Perceptions All the Timep. 295
What Are Beliefs or Perceptions?p. 296
Perceptions and Informationp. 298
Perceptions and Trade Sanctions: An Illustrationp. 299
The Trade Sanctioning Gamep. 301
The Sanctioning Game and Domestic Politicsp. 310
Perception, Repetition, and Reputationp. 315
Summaryp. 317
11. Perceptions, Deterrence, and Terrorismp. 320
Perceptions and Deterrencep. 321
General Deterrencep. 322
Extended Deterrence and Extended Immediate Deterrencep. 326
North Korea's Artful Use of Misconductp. 330
Perceptions and Deterrence: The Gulf Warp. 333
Beliefs About Terrorismp. 339
Summaryp. 345
12. Domestic Politics and International Interactions: The Central Units of Analysisp. 346
The Origins of the Statep. 347
International Relations Without the Statep. 353
Domestic Politics As an Alternative to the Statep. 354
Can Domestic Politics Affect the Definition of the National Interest?p. 357
The 1992 Presidential Electionp. 358
Policy Objectives in the 1992 Presidential Electionp. 360
Voter Preferences, Voting Blocs, and Electoral Rulep. 363
Alternative Interpretations of the Domestic Politics Examplep. 369
Summaryp. 370
13. Domestic Institutions and National Performancep. 372
Universal Political Institutionsp. 374
Tools to Remain in Powerp. 377
Allocation of Resources and Political Institutionsp. 378
Leadership Incentives and Political Institutionsp. 382
Winning Coalition Size and Trade Policyp. 384
The Neorealist, Alternative View of Trade Policyp. 387
The Interest Group View of Trade Policyp. 390
Evidence: Winning Coalition Size and Economic Performancep. 391
Winning Coalition Size and National Survivalp. 393
Summaryp. 399
14. Alliancesp. 401
What Is a Military Alliance?p. 402
The Purpose of Alliancesp. 404
When Are Alliances Reliable?p. 408
Predicting the Reliability of Alliancesp. 413
Measuring Shared Interestsp. 414
Testing the Predictive Modelp. 418
Alliances, Coordination, and Competitionp. 420
Conflict Among Alliesp. 426
Summaryp. 432
15. The Causes of War: Structural Accountsp. 434
Realist Theories of Warp. 435
How Well Does Neorealism Do in Explaining War and Instability?p. 437
Bipolarity and Stabilityp. 437
Bipolarity and Stability: A Second Lookp. 445
History and Neorealist Empirical Claimsp. 448
Other Neorealist Hypotheses and the Historical Recordp. 452
The Survival of Essential and Inessential Statesp. 452
Uncertainty and Warp. 453
Acquiescence and Neorealismp. 455
Balance of Power and Neorealismp. 456
The Power Transition: A Structural Alternative to neorealismp. 458
Examples of International Rules and Normsp. 460
Dissatisfaction, the Status Quo, and Warp. 462
Summaryp. 468
16. Strategic Theories of Warp. 469
The International Interaction Game and Warp. 470
War and Uncertainty: The IIG and Structural Theoriesp. 476
Weakness and War: Resurrection and Pacific Dovesp. 478
Violent Pacific Doves: A Case Historyp. 483
Arms Races, Deterrence, and Warp. 488
Other Hypotheses About Warp. 495
The Scapegoat Hypothesisp. 495
Status Inconsistencyp. 497
War in Cyclesp. 499
Summaryp. 500
17. A Predictive Model of International Affairsp. 501
Logical Foundation of the Modelp. 503
Perceptual Analysisp. 507
Estimating the Modelp. 512
Why Does This Model Help?p. 515
Intuition Behind the Model's Dynamicsp. 516
Developing the Datap. 518
Model Outputp. 522
Prediction and International Relationsp. 529
Using the Modelp. 534
Glossary of Key Termsp. 536
Bibliographyp. 548
Subject Indexp. 573
Citations of Authorsp. 585

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